Obama and the Baseball Cards

Obama’s legacy; and  this may  well be his prime legacy- and  one he may  remember in his  older years as he stands before the International War Crimes Tribunal, (once its decisions are no  longer controlled by  the U.S.  State Department), was his omnipotent capacity to  decide who shall  live and who  shall   die by  drone anywhere in  the world,  based on  limited pieces of information  provided on baseball  cards. (a kind of  Roman Emperor  type role: – thumbs- up  or down at  the Coliseum)

Baseball Card Kill List DEPICTION
Lawfareblog.com notes ‘This is a mock-up/depiction of what an actual kill-list baseball card looks like. It is not a real baseball card and is not based on any classified information.’

 

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an over-reliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. The Intercept 

One might almost be forgiven therefore  for coming to  the conclusion that  the intent of the U.S. targeted killing process is  not to  eliminate the sources of terror, but to  exacerbate them.

drone operator
Drone operator cabin- Daily Mail Australia

As we have seen in many a colonial  war, those who  ‘hand in’ terrorists to  the colonial  power inevitably have their own  agendas;  feuding families and clans, or perhaps financial   or property interests, but rarely because they  are in  fact  ‘terrorists”.  In addition we  can be certain  that  US military  and State Dept claims of minimal   ‘collateral  damage’ (accidental  killing of civilians who  get in the way  of a  drone  missile’s large detonation area)  are complete fabrications. And we can be certain too  that drone operators have less than minimal  knowledge of foreign cultural  issues- e.g. the difference between a  wedding party celebrating by firing automatic weapons into  the air and a  terrorist  group in weapons training , let alone  their drone “eyes” having sufficient  definition to  pick  up  who  is who  on the ground.

So,  when  dear President Obama  gives the thumbs down  on that particular baseball  card, he really has no  idea what  he is agreeing  to; other than that  his decision will  kill  someone or more likely , quite a few  people, out there . But of course, if  that Hellfire  missile with  its 9kg warhead  just  happens to  kill a few other  ‘military-age males’  in the vicinity of the explosion,  all  to the good.  By  using  remote killing mechanisms  the US president can appear to  take a Herod-like hands-off approach  to  the art of murder, with  the added benefit of limited  capacity of verifying what  carnage has  actually occurred on the ground.

In addition the United States’  penchant for targeting  supposed ‘leaders’ of terrorist  groups, rather than  their supply lines, infrastructure or financial  backers, means that  drones can be used over and over to  kill  the next leader who  takes the deceased’s  place in  the leadership line; or as in  many cases , the United States simply ‘kills’ the same person  over and over again; such  is the usefulness of remote unverified killing.

United States government lawyers have in  the past contorted themselves in  all  sorts of unusual  positions to justify  remote murder by  executive order,  much as their  contracted psychiatrists  managed to  create a lofty argument that  putting  prisoners through  ‘stress positions’  was not in  fact  totally illegal,  inhumane  torture and contravened  international  human  rights on  a grand scale.

President Obama has even been known  to joke publicly about his life and death  decision-making powers, not too  dissimilar from his psychopathic Secretary  of State ,  Hilary Clinton.

I hope I will  be around to  see  them  stand before the International  tribunal.


Links

https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/the-assassination-complex/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-presidents-kill-list

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/2013.05.23_fact_sheet_on_ppg.pdf

https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-presidents-national-security-speech

https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/targeted-killing

https://www.aclu.org/foia-collection/targeted-killing-foia-database

https://www.aclu.org/foia-document/joint-targeting-cycle-and-collateral-damage-estimation-methodology

https://theintercept.com/document/2015/10/14/geolocation-watchlist/

https://www.lawfareblog.com/kill-list-baseball-cards-and-targeting-paper-trail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

Patriotism: The Refuge of Scoundrels

The blog heading is one of Mark Twain’s quotes. But here is  a much  better one from Mr Clemens.

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
– “The Lowest Animal”- Mark Twain

Today, in my little part of the world; it is once again  Anzac Day, originally  commemorated to  mark  the bloody  failure  of the  British  Empire’s coordinated attack on Turkish  positions in the Dardanelles at  Gallipoli   in World War One, but now, ( supposedly) it ‘acknowledges the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Strangely however  this commemoration of all  who  have died in  wars is marked by   artillery salutes, marching uniformed men and much  fanfare about  this country’s patriotism. We are encouraged to  believe that Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can nevertheless share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in. (New Zealand Government).

I for one,  am  appalled  that  the majority consensus in New Zealand appears to  be that  ‘plucky little New Zealand’  became a real  country  with its own  identity, and not just  a member of the British  Empire, by  maiming and killing its way through  a series of foreign “adventures”.  The one possible exception to this catastrophic jingoistic litany of murder and mayhem, is New Zealand’s very  real  contribution to  the war  against  Nazi Germany and  Japan  during the Second World War, when  a New Zealand invasion by  the Japanese Imperial Army was a high  probability at  one point.

Every  other war  we have fought, we have fought at  the behest  of others-  from  the genocide inflicted on the Boers during the Boer Wars as part of the British  Imperial  Army’s need to maintain  control of South African assets, the First  World War’s bizarre clash of European monarchies , the  staggering level  of genocide  inflicted on Koreans  by  the “Allies’ (including New Zealand naval  bombardment  of civilian areas) during the Korean War, our implicit involvement in American  genocide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, our explicit connection to  rendering of Afghan suspects to   U.S. torture centres in Afghanistan, and our ongoing  complicity in the Five Eyes  intelligence project,  which  currently serves American  and U.K. interests in  promoting terrorism  around the world and destroying  human rights.

All in all,  it is not a record I for one am proud of.  Our ongoing subservience to  the  paranoid and psychopathic American  war machine and its  business interests, serves no-one’s interests  on this planet, other than  a few  crazed right wing  American  idealogues and the military/industrial  complex.

I was proud of my country  when our prime minister of the time, Norman Kirk, sent frigates to  Muroroa Atoll  in the south Pacific,  to protest  the French  destroying that island with nuclear bombs and contaminating the environment for thousands of miles.  I was proud when  our prime minister of the day,  David Lange, announced we would henceforth  be a nuclear-free nation, and even a little proud when prime minister Helen Clark refused to send   significant ground troops to Iraq  to  support the American  invasion there.  But we have sunk to new lows since those times, in obsequiously following our U.S.  masters into Iraq once more, to   fight a stupendously foolish  war  in Afghanistan,  and to  mouth support for America’s duplicitous  ‘war on terror’   while  unconditionally  supporting the key  centres of terror in the world; Saudi Arabia and Turkey,  along with support for the 60  year  old  brutal  Israeli  occupation of Palestine .

Despite successive  New Zealand governments’ posturings that  we are now a sovereign nation  because of Anzac Day, when are we truly going to be a proud and  independent nation  who  stands in truth  for peace and international justice?

 

 

The Brussels Bombers

The Brussels nail  bombing  attacks occurred on  the morning of March  22nd 2016;  two in the departure area of Brussels international airport near  the town of Zaventem seven miles from Brussels and one in the Maelbeek metro station in the centre of the city.  28 victims and three suicide bombers were killed, and 330 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

We now know that  Turkey   ‘deported’ the presumed key  instigator of  the Brussel’s attack  to  Amsterdam in the Netherlands,  rather than to Belgium.  Which  meant,  that  rather than being detained as a terrorist in Belgium upon  leaving the plane, he was instead permitted to   drive back  to  Belgium  from  Amsterdam’s  Schiphol  Airport because he was not on any Netherlands wanted list.  Poor bad luck? or was it-as has been  suggested, a cosy arrangement between  Turkey  and the   Israeli   owned  security firm   ICTS International  (owned by ‘former’ Shin Bet intelligence agency  personnel) managing the  security at  the airport.  You will  perhaps recall  that  ICTS International  is the same security agency  that  escorted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day  2009 , without a passport or ticket, to  a  First Class seat on  Northwest flight 253  at  Schiphol Airport, and who  then  attempted to   detonate  plastic explosives hidden inside his trousers.

But the  key issue that Western  media consistently ignore, is  their and their political  masters’ support for anti-Assad  rebel  groups;  who are in  fact,   terrorists. Their ‘moderate’  terrorists have been trained  by Western  intelligence  and sited in Jordan and Turkey  to  inflict  terror on Syrian  populations.  Hillary  Clinton’s  psychopathic need to  kill  and destroy  is reflected in her  weird emails using agents like Google and the Qatari terrorist supporting Al Jazeera media outlet.  Now that , with a little help  from  Russian bombers,  Assad ‘s military is inflicting serious losses on these terrorists groups in Syria- many are rushing  ‘home’ to  safety. But with all  that  training and nowhere to go-whats a good terrorist  to  do  but blow up  something  close to home?

This all  suits the US vacuous political  and military   establishment  very  well. Heightening fear and loathing  about these ‘Islamic’ groups  in European communities, and encouraging right wing imbecilic xenophobia, is incredibly useful  to ensure  that  the Eurozone limits its citizens freedoms, expands its military  and supports NATO  weirdness.

To ensure we all  believe that America is in fact  attempting to  destroy terrorists ( ie the long long looong war!)    the US military   prioritises  killing  heads of terrorist organizations-  the  key advantage  of such vaunted actions is that they can never be corroborated – (unless  of course ISIS agrees that  their man has been killed)!, as opposed to  destroying terrorist supply lines, banking activities, training camps, weapons supply  routes etc,  which can all be independently  verified. The evidence  is mounting that  these fundamentalist Islamic   terrorists are in  fact nothing but mercenaries who  can   conveniently use the  fear of Islamism to  increase their impact on  gullible Western populations.

As Pepe Escobar notes, NATO headquarters is less than  2 kilometers from the  site of the Brussels  terror;  why  choose a metro  station to  create an impact , rather than  the  central supposedly core of Western values sited at  NATO headquarters? Soft targets are of course easy  targets, but they  clearly have less impact  on Western  political  actions than hard targets….

If we are to believe the quoted media response from  ISIS,  that; ‘let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake part in the crusader campaign … [with] their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets.’, then  this soft target response to  the ‘11,111 air strikes launched by Western and Gulf states against targets in Syria and Iraq’, then this supposed  ISIS response is certainly  a circuitous route to conquering the crusaders.

Sibel Edmonds, ex-FBI operative, argues however that  the proximity of the  attacks   to  NATO headquarters is no coincidence, and simply forms part of a long sequence  of CIA/NATO sponsored Gladio  attacks in Europe-  or in Belgium, the ‘stay-behind’ Gladio  units were known  as S.D.R.A. VIII , with  strong connections to  far-right organisations.

Despite his  genetically ingrained Russophobic  tendencies, Craig Murray makes the very  good point that  terrorists can in  fact attack  any soft target  at will. Current  anti-terrorist measures , such as at  airports are a complete farce, largely useless,  and result in  long, vulnerable to  attack,  queues.

We live in  a bizarre world of lies, disinformation, half-truths and extraordinary  events where   individuals with  limited intelligence  have accumulated great power,  and  are quite prepared to kill any number of innocents for their own  foolish  ends.


Links

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/03/25/erdogan-to-belgium-screw-you-we-will-do-it-again/

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/03/roundup-of-current-news-on-syria.html

ICTS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICTS_International

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/jordans-king-accuses-turkey-sending-terrorists-europe-1687591648

http://www.haaretz.com/israeli-firm-blasted-for-letting-would-be-plane-bomber-slip-through-1.261107

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2016/03/24/probable-cause-with-sibel-edmonds-belgium-bombing-the-missing-context-facts-interests/

http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/operation_gladio.htm

The Farcical “War on Terror”

Reports are now  coming thick and fast  from  both the Middle East  and from the  United Stated sources of the  role the United States  and its key allies have played in  first  establishing and  then maintaining   ISIS, Al Qaeda and numerous other salafist  affiliates, under the  flimsy  guise of them being  “moderate” jihadists.

As one more instance of this support, the  recent  debacle of a defeat for Iraqi troops against  ISIS in Ramadi points to  the clear decision by United States  forces not to  conduct  airstrikes  against  ISIS  positions, when there was every   opportunity to  do  so., and the US recommendation to  the Iraqi government not to deploy Shi-ite militias in Ramadi The United States is now  aggrieved that Iranian military players are now directly involved in  the re-taking of Ramadi for the Iraqi government .

The consistent intent  for   United States policy  since the Iranian revolution in1979,  has been to  contain and eliminate any potential threat from Shi-ite groups that might negatively impact on the US supported Persian Gulf (Sunni) dictatorships. The Gulf State dictatorships have consistently demonstrated  their unconditional  support  and loyalty  for  US and Israeli  imperial  policies  in  the region; unlike the Shi-ite  states of Iran, Syria and now Iraq, who  foolishly prefer a path of self-determination for their peoples.

The usual   pack of neocon  psychopaths , with John Bolton  snarling in  the lead, has been  to  attempt to  ramp up the non-existent Iranian nuclear weapon threat, to provide unconditional  support for Israeli genocide in  Palestine and to support   anything , regardless of international law or the rights of humanity, that  will extend the United State’s power internationally. If that means  using delusional  Saudi  and Qatari “princes”  to  find and resource even more psychotic ISIS military leaders,who  believe that  all Shi-ites must  be exterminated;  then so be it.

There is clear evidence of an ongoing policy by  the neocons to destroy secular Middle East  governments ( ie not specifically Sunni  oriented governments) like Saddam’s  Iraq, Libya, Syria, which  can lead  on to the ultimate goal  for the US, Israel  and the Saudis; the destruction of Shi-ite  Iran. The  Saudi bombardment of Yemen’s Houthi movement and all  Yemeni  civilians , is  just  a minor diversion  in  the larger game plan.

The recent public announcement by the US that  it wil  be funding training  and arming  “moderate” Syrian opposition forces to  fight the Syrian Assad regime , is one more step  in this bizarre and farcical journey of creating  monsters to  kill them. As has  been clearly demonstrated; there is in fact no  “moderate” opposition fighters. It is possible that  at  the beginning of the fight against  Assad in the “spontaneous” Arab Spring uprising against  him , that  there were a few  secular   and moderate voices, but they have long gone.  As this Department of Defence report for 2012 clearly indicates,   the US knew well  (even 3 years ago) that  the Syrian opposition  fighters that it supported and continues to  support, were  almost entirely composed of extremist jihadists and salafist ( anti-Shiite and anti  any other non-Sunni sect)

Additional  little snippets of the tight connection between Western governments and Middle East  terrorist  groups can  be  found in Seamus Milne’s account here.  Or the recent post  in  the Levant Report documenting how  the ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013

But even  in these accounts, Western  reporters are  extremely cautious in ascribing  a direct  linkage between  terror and the West ; one  which  now undoubtedly exists. Note how key Western governments are now happy to pay ISIS good prices for their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil.

Or note ex-President of  Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai’s view that  the U.S is actively taking a two  sided approach  to  creation and  destruction of jihadist  groups to  serve its power interests.

Time and time again  we are seeing reports in  the mainstream U.S. and U.K. media that  ISIS is here to  stay  for  the long term; how hard it will be  to eliminate them; and really, things are such  a lot better for those people in Iraq, Libya and Syria now that  ISIS and its Western  subsidised offshoots are there.  After all  we have “law and order”-never mind that this “law” is an obscene  psychopathic one  As a “delightful ” example of this  obscene  Western view on  that”Isis isn’t really that bad” -read this article in the U.K. Independent by   Richard Barrett (who) was head of counter-terrorism at MI6 before spending nine years as the co-ordinator of the UN’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team.

What  you sow, so  shall  you reap……

 Postscript

A great  article on where all  that wonderful  hardware comes from  that ISIS  uses at  Antiwar.com http://original.antiwar.com/Dan_Sanchez/2015/06/15/where-does-isis-get-those-wonderful-toys/, which rather begs the question; who is training those little psychopaths in all  this new hi-tech  equipment?

And some additional information from  Andrew P Napolitano  at  antiwar. com brings to  the sunlight  at  least one war equipment  ratline managed by  Secretary  of State Clinton to  terrorists in Libya and Syria .

And from Sibel Edmonds, ex-American intelligence operative; a podcast  on  the role of the U.S. Black-ops community in  establishing and maintaining  various international   terrorist  groups


Links

http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/25/washington-confesses-to-backing-questionable-actors-in-syria/

http://original.antiwar.com/Dan_Sanchez/2015/06/08/the-us-governments-not-so-secret-support-for-al-qaeda-and-isis/

http://rt.com/op-edge/265474-isis-syria-iraq-rebels/

 

Lest any of us forget…

When I was at  high-school in my quiet  little New Zealand hometown, the Army came round each  classroom every once in  a while to  show  what a great  job they were doing to defend us from the commies.

Claymore Mine operation
Claymore Mine operation

I  have always remembered one swaggering staff sergeant and his corporal explaining in great detail to  our class how the  anti-personnel mines they used in Vietnam to  fight the  vietcong; or “charlie” as they liked to call them -(short for “victor charlie” or “vc”)  – how  our honourable  soldiers would  park these little  green claymore mines on their scissor legs on the jungle trails with  tripwires for the unwary-be they  “charlie” or local  peasants and their children.

Once detonated  by  the tripwire , the blast shot six hundred  little ball bearings  at deadly velocity in  a 60 degree  arc, shredding anything  and everything in  their path.  Our staff-sergeant explained with  a weary  smile that that those cunning  little charlie used to instead turn the   mines around so  that they sometimes shredded “our ” men instead.

Our staff-sergeant made it oh, so  very clear to us , that this  virtuous war  in Vietnam was not just  a war  against  the evil  commies, but a war against  the ‘yellow peril’ who  would otherwise kill us good white folks in  our beds some day.

A Harvard University study estimates that  up  to  3.8 million Vietnamese people died as a result of that  war. A recent Guardian article  says that:

The US dropped more high explosives on Vietnam than the allies used on Germany and Japan together in the second world war. It also dropped napalm jelly, which stuck to its victims while it roasted their skin; white phosphorous, which burned down to the bone; fragmentation bombs, which hurled ball bearings and steel shards in all directions; and 73m litres of toxic chemicals, including 43m litres of Agent Orange, which killed vegetation and inflicted illness on those who were exposed to it.

Infamously, the US also bombed Hanoi – a city full of civilians with no air force to defend it.

And please, make no  mistake, our New Zealand  government was fully aware of our complicity in  these horrendous war-crimes against  a people who  made the mistake of wanting to kick out their colonial  oppressors; the French.

And  were  our NZ military  commanders also  oblivious to the massive firebombing of every   city and town in North Korea (and some South Korean cities too) during the Korean War that killed,  using wild under-estimations, over one and a half million people? I think  not. Were they  aware of, or complicit in the extensive war crimes committed by  British  troops in  the Malay Insurgency?

And please, let us not forget  our active   involvement  in the capture and torture  and murder of anyone who  might just  look  like the Taleban in Afghanistan.

whitepoppy
The White Poppy of Peace

But of course,  this has all  been in the name of freedom  and democracy, and of course our ANZAC nation-building exercise….

For there to be true honour for our country, we must  both  acknowledge  and compensate for the incredible human  suffering our involvement in those wars have inflicted on other peoples. Are we   a brave enough  nation for that?

 

 


 Links

What’s to Commemorate?
http://werewolf.co.nz/2015/04/whats-to-commemorate/